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Optimal Unemployment Insurance Design:Time Limits, Monitoring, or Workfare?

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  • Fredriksson, Peter

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Holmlund, Bertil

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper analyses crucial design features of unemployment insurance (UI) policies. We examine three different means of improving the efficiency of UI: the duration of benefit payments, monitoring in conjunction with sanctions, and workfare. To that end we develop a quantitative model of equilibrium unemployment. The model features worker heterogeneity, which takes the form of differences in preferences for leisure. All the instruments are ways of limiting the duration of UI benefit receipt and the model can be used to compare them in a coherent fashion. The analysis suggests that a system with monitoring and sanctions restores search incentives most effectively, since it brings additional incentives to search actively so as to avoid the sanction. Therefore, the UI provider can offer a more generous UI replacement rate in a system with monitoring and sanctions than in the other two systems. Workfare appears to be inferior to the other two systems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2003:17.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 25 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Tax and Public Finance, 2006, pages 565-585.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2003_017

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: Unemployment insurance; search; monitoring; sanctions; workfare;

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References

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  1. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 1999. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective Than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9913, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  2. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  3. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw & Jan C. van Ours, 1998. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate from Welfare to Work," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-076/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Stephen Williamson & Cheng Wang, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Macroeconomics 9506002, EconWPA.
  5. Lalive, Rafael & van Ours, Jan C & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "The Effect of Benefit Sanctions on the Duration of Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "Improving incentives in unemployment insurance: A review of recent research," Working Paper Series 2003:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. Gerard van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2000. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0972, Econometric Society.
  8. Hassler, John & Rodriguez Mora, José V., 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall Over Time?," IZA Discussion Papers 622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Boone, Jan & Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil & van Ours, Jan, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Working Paper Series 2001:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
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  11. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  12. Abbring, Jaap H. & Berg, Gerard J. van den & Ours, Jan C. van, 1996. "The effect of unemployment insurance sanctions on the transition rate from unemployment to employment," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  13. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-99, April.
  14. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2000. "Modeling Financial Incentives to Get Unemployed Back to Work," IZA Discussion Papers 108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  17. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "The Design Of Income Maintenance Programs," Papers 74, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  18. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Optimal Workfare with Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 459-474, 09.
  19. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," NBER Working Papers 6355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  21. Terry R. Johnson & Daniel H. Klepinger, 1994. "Experimental Evidence on Unemployment Insurance Work-Search Policies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 665-717.
  22. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  23. Claus T. Hansen & Torben Tranaes, 2000. "Optimal Workfare in a Society of Workers and Non-Workers," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0758, Econometric Society.
  24. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Steve, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Staff General Research Papers 5088, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  25. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
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